five YA you have to read- NYPL

Five YA Books You Seriously Need to Read

It has come to my attention that not everyone has read these books. I don’t care what you normally read. Whether it’s science fiction, fantasy, romance, non-fiction, or whatever, these are books that you seriously need to read… right now. No excuses. Open up a new browser window, place it right beside this one, and get ready to add things to your hold list. Go ahead. I’ll wait.(Birdoff)



Birdoff, Ariel. “Five YA Books You Seriously Need to Read.” Five YA Books You Seriously Need to Read. NYPL, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <;.

Time magazine’s All-time 100 Novels

Jade the Obscure

Time_Magazine_-_first_coverI recently stumbled, not for the first time, upon Time magazine’s All-time 100 Novels list.

If you’re unfamiliar with this (unlikely I know) in 2005 Time‘s critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo picked the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923 (the beginning of TIME). If you’re wondering how they choose these books click here to find out.

Anyway, I perused the list a little, those titles in italics are ones I read before beginning Jade the Obscure, those in bold, after (you can click on there to see my reviews). I will confess to being a little embarrassed by how few I have read. Only eight out of 100!

I need to do something about this, so I’m going to head out and buy a copy of Lolita, I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, in fact, there are several books on the list I’ve been meaning to…

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Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater- A Review

Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Release Year: 2009

Reviewed By: Sarina

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance


Summary: “For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.” (

To sum this book up in my own words, after recommending it to countless friends, “It’s basically Twilight, only actually well-written with characters who have believable emotions and healthy relationships, and werewolves instead of vampires.” It’s better than it sounds, I swear. I first came across this series (it is a series, a trilogy technically, with one recently-released standalone novel based on a minor character), after reading another of Mrs. Stiefvater’s books, called Lament. I deliberately avoided this series for the exact reasons one would suspect; it sounded boring, cliché, and stuffed full of awkward fumbling teenage romance. I kept putting off getting this book from the library, where it would glare at me accusingly from the shelf as I took out the other books written by Maggie Stiefvater multiple times. I eventually caved and brought it home, where it sat on my pile of to-read books until a day before it was supposed to go back to the library. I picked it up on a whim, because I had nothing else to do, and I ended up staying awake until three a.m. to finish it.

To be perfectly honest, this is the first and only series of paranormal “romance” that I have ever picked up and enjoyed. I put sarcastic exclamation marks around the term romance because while relationships certainly do factor into a novel, they don’t drown it in mopey teenage angst, and are mercifully lacking in abuse (CoughTwilightCough). The plot is well-written, with a good dose of Medical Drama, Action-Adventure, and Animal Rights. Werewolf-ism is portrayed as a disease, rather than a romantic characteristic. I found myself genuinely attached to the characters, Sam and Grace. Grace is a studious bookworm who has always been fascinated by the wolves near her house after being attacked by them as a child. Sam is an unfortunate poet who got bitten by the wolves as a child, and ended up becoming one of them for half the year (during winter. The disease is related to temperature and seasons, not relegated by the moon.)

With a well-developed and diverse cast of characters, particularly later in the series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who is fed up with the cliché young adult romance fiction. I’d also recommend it to anyone who likes snow, the science of contagious diseases, hardcore heavy metal/synthetic rock, dead German poets, and peppermint hot chocolate.


Freedom to Read is our mantra

the KSS Learning Commons
We are celebrating our freedom- how about you? KSS OWLS – “we got spirit, how about you? ” #owlproud Who’s house? Owls house!
In contrast to our cart of banned books, not only to we lend a broad collection of books to teens, we give books away- free! Share the joy Canada. Visit your library now to celebrate choice and access.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week
February 22-28, 2015
Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (


“Champions of Free Expression.” Freedom to Read. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. .

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Some fresh GOLDpicks-

A few recommended reading titles from your librarian…


Davidson, Craig. Cataract City.

Growing up in Canada near Niagara Falls, close friends Owen Stuckey and Duncan Diggs become even closer after their abduction by a broken-down wrestler they had admired. Duncan’s plunge into the criminal world as an adult puts pressure on Owen, now a cop. VERDICT A swiftly told, matter-of-fact unfolding of lives threatening to derail, this Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist will be appreciated by most fiction readers.Library Journal Booksmack! LJXpress Prepub School Library Journal Horn Book Guide Horn Book Magazine Junior Library Guild. ( BookVerdict)


Brown, Daniel James. The Boys in the Boat.

The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany

Brown’s (The Indifferent Stars Above) enormously uplifting book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar rowing team. Led by Joe Rantz, who had been abandoned by his family, the team beat the elite East Coast teams to represent the United States at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Edward Herrmann is a gifted reader. His voice is melodic, and his performance pitch-perfect. VERDICT Recommended for all readers who are interested in Horatio Alger stories, World War II history, and sports. [“Those who enjoy reading about Olympic history or amateur or collegiate sports will savor Brown’s superb book,” read the starred review of the Viking hc, LJ 4/15/13.]—Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, FlorenceLibrary Journal Booksmack! LJXpress Prepub School Library Journal Horn Book Guide Horn Book Magazine Junior Library Guild ( BookVerdict)


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making | Paperback
Catherynne M Valente | Ana Juan   Fairyland (series) . Square Fish

“One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”-Time magazine, on the Fairyland series
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when author Catherynne M. Valente first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.


The Kindly Ones | Paperback
Jonathan Littell | Charlotte Mandell
McClelland & Stewart

Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened.

Dr. Max Aue, the man at the heart of Jonathan Littell’s stunning and controversial novel The Kindly Ones, personifies the evils of the Second World War and the Holocaust. Highly educated and cultured, he was an ambitious SS officer, a Nazi and mass murderer who was in the upper echelons of the Third Reich. He tells us of his experience during the war. He was present at Auschwitz and Babi Yar, witnessed the battle of Stalingrad, and survived the fall of Berlin — receiving a medal from Hitler personally in the last days of Nazi Germany.

Long after the war, he is living a comfortable bourgeois life in France, married with two children, managing a lace factory. And now, having evaded justice, he speaks out, giving a precise and accurate record of his life. The tone of his account is detached, lapidary, and for the most part unrepentant, whether he is describing his participation in mass murder on the Eastern Front, his bureaucratic investigations of labour productivity in the death camps, his casual murder of civilians as he tries to break through Russian lines towards the end of the war, or his fervid and convoluted relationship with his twin sister.


Works Cited

“” School Library Journal, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <;.

Davidson, Craig. Cataract City: A Novel. N.p.: RandomHouse, 2013. Print.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Fiction title for 2011.

Mental illness and writing genius –

A fascinating overview of research into creativity from Brainpickings blog:

One of the most interesting chapters in the book deals with the correlation between creativity and mental illness, bringing scientific rigor to such classic anecdotal examples as those evidenced in Van Gogh’s letters or Sylvia Plath’s journals or Leo Tolstoy’s diary of depression or Virginia Woolf’s suicide note. Having long opposed the toxic “tortured genius” myth of creativity, I was instantly intrigued by Andreasen’s inquiry, the backdrop of which she paints elegantly:

Did mental illness facilitate [these creators’] unique abilities, whether it be to play a concerto or to perceive a novel mathematical relationship? Or did mental illness impair their creativity after its initial meteoric burst in their twenties? Or is the relationship more complex than a simple one of cause and effect, in either direction?

She cites the work of Havelock Ellis, one of the earliest scholars of creativity, a Victorian physician, writer and social reformer ahead of his time. In 1926, in his late sixties, he published A Study of British Genius, an effort to provide a scientific assessment of the link between genius and psychopathology by studying a sample of people found in the British Dictionary of National Biography — a compendium of about 30,000 eminent public figures, whom he sifted through a set of criteria to identify 1,030 displaying “any very transcendent degree of native ability.” Andreasen recounts his findings( Popova)

Popova, Maria. “The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness.” Brain Pickings RSS. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. .


AP Human Geography 12 – a novel review by Taylor Hall

Geography 12 AP a project based learning unit: the Fiction genre as a scholarship device.
The task was a set of annotations and references to meaningful observations discovered in the novel’s text. One section was a brief review of the book. ( posted in this blog) Read Taylor’s opinion below….

“…The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place). Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding. An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of geographic elements that build more understanding…” (Smith, )

An eye-opening work focusing on the darker side of contemporary Indian society, I found Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger to be an excellent read. Intricately crafted, the work does not romanticize India as a mysterious, exotic haven, but rather provides us with a candid view of the nation’s seedy underbelly of corrupt politicians and millionaires. What Adiga has provided in The White Tiger is an opportunity to hear a voice often left unheard, that of the Indian servant. Additionally, Adiga manages to raise important questions regarding wealth, religion, class, and the importance of tradition in a country searching for a new identity. As I did not know much about Indian culture and society prior to the book, I found Adiga’s explanation of Indian caste as well as politics to be a thought-provoking look into the India of the twenty-first century. Despite my enjoyment of the book, The White Tiger, like any work of fiction, is not without its flaws. To elaborate, there were parts I felt unnecessarily lengthy and some story elements that seemed somewhat out of place in the context of the novel. Overall, The White Tiger is an impressive debut by Adiga and an undoubtedly relevant work in an age of globalization. (Hall)

Hall, Taylor. “Personal Opinion- The White Tiger.” Rev. of The White Tiger, A. Adiga. Print. Review. (Submitted essay.)

Smith, A. “Fiction as Resource.” KSSreads. Kelowna Secondary School Library, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. .


Fathers- Read About Snow Monkeys

Interesting that under misfortune, hazard conditions or some unknown cause, male troupe leaders nurture and raise infants. Offspring are generally the responsibility of the birth mother. Discreetly studying animals in their habitat provides us with such fascinating unexplained behaviours but also wondrous curiosities.

Journey into the snow-bound mountains of central Japan and meet Hiro, a spunky young snow monkey whose charming personality sparks an unlikely friendship. It’s an intimate, immersive tale of family, friendship, and strife in the heart of the Japanese Alps
(Nat Geo Wild Japan)

Snow monkey Facts
Snow monkeys, also known as Japanese macaques, are type of monkeys which inhabit three out of four main islands of Japan. They are adapted equally well to the warm subtropical lowlands and to the cold subalpine regions. Snow monkeys are not listed as endangered species although they are not as numerous as they were in the past. Main threats for their survival are habitat loss, deforestation and killing (farmers consider them as pests, because snow monkeys often eat and destroy crops).


Snow monkey Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2015, from

‘Snow Monkeys- Facts and Details’. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2015, from

“Video Snow Monkeys.” Snow Monkeys Wild Japan. National Geographic Society. Web. 04 Jan. 2015. .

2014 Blog Statistics hors d’oeuvres

Just for the fun of it…



A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

There were 122 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 25 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 9th with 51 views. The most popular post that day was Everyone shouts, few listen….

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Posting Patterns

In 2014, there were 93 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 579 posts.

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